This year sees us running Duke of Edinburgh Award programmes across the board – Bronze, Silver and Gold – and staff generously giving up their weekend to enable students t0 take the courses have busy weeks stretching into the distance.

Making an early start to the DofE season we had a Silver and Gold practice expedition in April in the Peak District starting with a very cold night camping. After a spectacular walk through Ramshaw Rocks near the Roaches the students spent a long day walking to Hartington, and finished the next day walking through Dovedale.

Also in April, the Bronze DofE practice expedition took place in Cannock Chase where 47 students learned how to put up and take down a tent, cook on a gas trangia stove and sleep in a tent on another very cold night, before navigating their way to their pick-up point to return home. The Bronze students will complete their qualifying expedition in May, walking in the area around Hartington, along the Tissington trail and then demonstrating their newfound camping skills.

Our first in-house Gold expedition will take place in July in the Lake District, with our Y13 students making their way from Penrith to Keswick via the shores of Ullswater and in the shadow of Helvellyn.

We are then back in the same area of the Lake District in September with a Y12 Silver expedition and with new Y13s completing their Gold qualifying expedition, hopefully having got their heads around lightweight equipment to help them in their longer days and higher ascents.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, said; “I am so grateful to the DofE team because offering this wide array of courses takes up so much of their family and personal time at the weekends, not forgetting the mid-week prep, classes, mentoring, too, but it is this huge level of commitment that provides the enrichment that we want our students to enjoy at our school. There is a real sense of achievement in passing a DoE Award, it is recognised by both employers and universities, and anything that sees children set a goal, persevere to achieve it, then be able to celebrate having reached success is wonderful preparation for life.”